I Rejoice in the Good Law of God
by Joseph Franks
I recognize the good law of God. It comes from his glorious character and attributes. It is written on my heart. Clearly it is presented in the sacred scriptures. It has been taught and preached to me all of my days. Yes, I know God’s law, and it expresses to me God’s divine standard and sacred will. And in God’s law I learn of the holy, healthy, and happy consequences that follow perfect obedience.
I revolt against the good law of God. Tragically, though it be written on my heart, and though I read and hear God’s holy standards often, I suppress his truth and rebel. My devilish enemy is seductive and wily; he convinces me God’s ways are not best. In addition, my world is relentless in its godless temptation; peer pressure pulls me away from the paths of righteousness. However, I cannot blame them, for I have my own issues. My depraved mind is far too arrogant and shallow to appreciate God’s infinite wisdom. My wicked heart persistently opposes any form of subordination. And my fallen flesh wants what it wants, and it rarely wants that which is pure and holy.
Therefore, I reel at the verdict of the good law of God. Because I do not keep any of God’s laws with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, and because I do not keep all of God’s laws with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, all the law has for me is horrible news. Justice weighs my worship and finds me wanting. Rightly it condemns, judges, and assigns me to the place of Lucifer and his demons. Every time I hear its voice, it never tells me I have done good enough. I read and I reel. I read more, and I reel more. Oh how I hate God’s law and what it says to me. It has nothing good to say to my natural, fallen, devilish soul.
However, because of the Gospel, I can now rejoice in the good law of God. It’s bitter sentence has assisted me in finding sweet salvation. It showed me God’s good standard. It showed me my deplorable sin. It screamed damnation and forced me to look elsewhere for deliverance. Ultimately, the law pointed me away from self-righteousness and self-salvation and assisted me in looking to the Son.
And because of the Gospel, I continue to rejoice in the good law of God. Because Jesus is perfectly obedient, and because Jesus is thoroughly condemned, and because Jesus is my high priest, and because Jesus is my righteousness-substitute, and because the Father only sees me clothed in the righteousness of Jesus, and because the Father has immutably declared me to be holy, the law promises me the divine communion and infinite blessing of Jesus. I get all the glorious consequences of Jesus’ obedience. Therefore, because of the Gospel, because of Jesus’ law-keeping works, with David I too can say, “O how I love your law.” (Ps. 119:97)
And because of the Gospel, I have further reason to rejoice in the good law of God. As a converted and justified child of God, I have received a new Spirit, heart, mind, will, and set of desires. Because of the Gospel, I now want to worship my Lord from the inside-out. And the good law of God — written on my heart, read in my scriptures, and heard from the pulpit — points me in the direction I should go. It shows me the way the “new me” desires to worship, and it describes the way the “new me” will ultimately and fully be in paradise. In heaven, I will only be a law-keeping saint, and there is nothing I would rather be.
And finally, one more reason to rejoice in the good law of God. Let me not forget the glorious consequences of obedience. God’s desire is that I glorify and enjoy him. God’s promise is that I can be like the fruitful tree watered by the Word. (Psalm 1) Yes, God’s good law points me down the road of glorious consequences. The results are always better when I walk in accordance with his precepts. Therefore, with the Psalmist I continually read, strive to obey, and get to say, “O how I love your law.” (Ps. 119:97)
Therefore friends, what will I do today? What ought you to do today? As people transformed by the Gospel, let us read, study, meditate, memorize, repent, rejoice, and then seek to walk in accordance with God’s good law. For after all …
The commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life.